Mike Sonko, Karungo wa Thang'wa missing in IEBC list of gazetted names

Former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko at Milimani court on June 15, 2022, where he filed his case to the IEBC disputes resolution committee. [Edward Kiplimo,Standard]

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has gazetted the names of candidates cleared to contest in the August 9 General Election.

However, the names of Wiper Mombasa governor candidate Mike Sonko and UDA Kiambu Senator’s Karungo wa Thang’wa are missing in the gazette notice dated July 1.

This comes on the backdrop of the High Court’s interim orders that barred IEBC from printing ballot papers for the Mombasa governor race.

Sonko contested, in court, the IEBC Dispute Resolution Committee’s decision to bar him from contesting for the Mombasa governorship citing his impeachment as Nairobi governor. He argued that the Constitution grants him the right to exhaust all legal avenues before being disqualified.

High Court also suspended the gazettement of the Mombasa governor candidates in the August elections, pending the hearing and determination of a suit filed by Sonko.

Mr Thang’wa is missing from the list despite the High Court order to IEBC to clear him for the Kiambu senate race.

IEBC had barred him from contesting on grounds of impeachment because of graft.

Justice Rachael Ng’etich ruled that there was no evidence that Mr Thang’wa was corrupt. “I hereby issue an order of mandamus compelling IEBC by itself and or its agents to clear and to register Thang’wa as Kiambu County senatorial candidate in the General Election,” she ruled.

The IEBC list also bears the name of UDA Nairobi governor candidate Johnson Sakaja, whose case concerning the validity of his degree will be heard today.

Mr Sakaja was cleared by IEBC’s Dispute Resolution Committee to contest, citing lack of jurisdiction to determine the authenticity of the academic certificate.

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati said the tribunal’s decision could only be reversed through a court order after a petitioner, Dennis Wahome, sought to have the commission bar the Nairobi senator from the race after Commission on University Education revoked his degree certificate from TEAMS University, Uganda.

Mr Sakaja’s name is on the list because issues raised on validity of his degrees came after the names were submitted to the electoral agency.

This is also not a guarantee that Sonko and the UDA Nairobi governor candidate’s names will appear on the ballot papers, since IEBC has postponed printing of ballot papers for elective positions with ongoing court cases.

High Court Judge Anthony Mrima directed that Mr Sakaja’s case be heard today.

According to the IEBC gazette notice, Mombasa Governor seat will be contested by Bollo Hezron Awiti (Vibrant Democratic Party), Hassan Omar (UDA), Jama Amin Ali (PAA), Mwaruwa Abdalla Hemed (Independent), Nzaro Salim Omar (UPIA), Nassir Abdulswamad Sheriff (ODM) and Omari Said Abdalla (Usawa Kwa Wote Party).

Kiambu Senate seat will be contested by Kigunda Makena (Kenya National Congress), Gathekia Alice Wangari (Tujibebe Wakenya Party), Maara George Jonathan (Jubilee Party), Mugwe John Gathigi (Independent), Waikenda Machel T Karanja (Chama Cha Kazi), Wangongu George Njoroge (Safina party), and Wanjiru Joseph Kamau (Usawa Kwa Wote Party).